Clive Rosfield

; and the terms of fate


Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

william ernest henley, the author of "invictus" (1875), was a british poet from the victorian era. he beared many effects and complications of illness, such resulting in amputation of one of his legs. while in recovery, he was inspired to write words of endurance - words that have transcended his time by reminding numerous of the strength we all harbor.

you might be wondering; well, what does some video-game guy have to do with this poem? and i'm here to tell you: he's got everything to do with it!

one of the main-story missions in final fantasy xvi requires clive (you) to go back to 'phoenix gate', a place that potentially holds answers he's been desperately searching for for over a decade. on the way, he reconnects with the wife of his former teacher who gives him gear that belonged to his late father. part of the gear contains a sword, and this sword's name is 'invictus'.

in official artwork and content, clive is shown with the invictus sword despite the several different weapons you obtain throughout the game. at first, i just assumed it was some default design they went with for simplicity's sake. but, as it turns out, there's a lot more meaning behind it!

clive rosfield seems like the personified "invictus" not only in terms of the poem, but also the word, meaning 'unconquered' in latin. time and time again, he is led astray, his path never simple nor pretty. despite the hardships and pain, he treads on. he uses the injustice he and many others face to bring salvation, to fight for those that can't in order to create a life where everyone can live on their own terms.

to quote the man himself, we are imperfect creatures. the world, as a whole, is imperfect. it's easy for hurt to consume us but, at the end of the day, we endure. we don't need a reason to fight yet there is much to fight for. humans are strong, resilent creatures no matter what befalls us.

final fantasy xvi and "invictus" have become a pillar of power in my life over the recent months. my own battles are eased because i have these to lean on, so i thought i'd conserve two great stories in hopes they can shed some light in someone's dark too!

the best thing about both texts is their ambiguity; you're free to interpret the messages and apply them to your own life however you like! and that's the whole point, isn't it? your life is your own to live - you are the captain of your soul. don't forget!

© 2023 - Clive Rosfield & Final Fantasy XVI belong to Square Enix. "Invictus" (1875) belongs to William Ernest Henley.